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Raúl Jaurena was a bandoneonist, musical director of the Thalia Theatre in New York, arranger and composer. PHOTOGRAPHY: Official website.
Raúl Jaurena was a bandoneonist, musical director of the Thalia Theatre in New York, arranger and composer. Photo: rauljaurena.com 

Tango master Raúl Jaurena dies of coronavirus at 79

The verdict is out whether Death likes tango, but it did recently take one of the genre's most-recognized composers.

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Uruguayan tango composer and bandoneon player Raúl Jaurena died last week in Elizabeth, New Jersey from complications due to the coronavirus at the age of 79 after a few days in the hospital.

His death was confirmed in a tweet from Uruguay's Official Service of Diffusions, Representations, and Entertainment, and lamented him as a master who had become an "itinerant ambassador" of the country.

Jaurena leaves as one of the most recognized exponents of tango, internationally and in the U.S., where he won a Latin Grammy in tango in 2007 after being nominated five years earlier.

His personality was able to distance himself from the Argentine monopoly of tango to the so-called "tango nuevo" that also integrated the sounds of New York and the U.S. into the genre.

Born in Montevideo in 1941, he learned to play the bandoneon at a very young age, encouraged by his parents. At 20, he was already accompanying César Zagnoli through Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.

In the 80s, Jaurena settled permanently in the United States and was part of the New York Tango Trio and New York Buenos Aires Connection, a turning point in his tango career and where he began to mark his own path.

A composer and arranger for decades, he showcased his talent in an extensive discography that includes Tango bar (2001) and Te amo, tango (2007) to name just a few. He also accompanied international figures such as Hugo del Carril, Libertad Lamarque, and Pope Francisco, traveling through a number countries as an ambassador. His commitment was also rooted in master classes, workshops in universities, and tango associations.

In recent years he released solid albums such as Tributango (2016) with Pablo Aslan and Emilio Solla, in which they revamped some classics, and Five Senses Suites (2017) with Daniel Szasz and the Arrhythmia Quartet, showing once again the incredible variety and inner life of tango.

Jaurena was a master who has demonstrated that artistry, legacy and territory always go hand in hand, has said his final goodbye to fans.

 

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